STUDENTS stole hundreds of thousands of pounds from online giant Amazon after discovering an issue that meant that a unique discount code could be used over and over again.
Amazon’s Prime Student offer offered new users Â£ 5 off their first purchase with a code called ‘Welcome5’.
But undergraduates quickly realized that it gave them a fivefold discount on anything they bought, no matter how many times they used it.
Word spread like wildfire across UK campuses and students started stocking up everyday items like toilet rolls and toothpaste, as well as packs of beer.
One student got Â£ 2,500 worth of goods for nothing and many bought enough household items to last their entire course.
Student apartments in London, Durham, Nottingham, Manchester, Salford and Hertfordshire began to look like warehouses.
An undergraduate student estimated the mistake had cost the retailer – led by the world’s richest man Jeff Bezos – hundreds of thousands.
At one point, Amazon’s list of best sellers showed items such as toothbrushes, toilet rolls, deodorants, books, batteries, iPhone chargers, sports socks and clothing. cheap beer. A student apartment in Newcastle was among the first to see the golden opportunity.
One of the guys there who cashed in – a 19-year-old business student – said: âThe code Welcome5 was intended as a one-time introductory offer, but a roommate’s brother contacted to say that he had entered it a second time and it worked again.
THE WORD HAPPENS LIKE WILDIFRE
âObviously we quickly tried it out ourselves and couldn’t believe that no matter how many times we put it in it, it always worked.
“It was only available on one purchase, so you could get five cents on anything, which didn’t mean much if you wanted expensive things – but we’re students, we just want everything.” that we can get.
âWe started looking for useful stuff that was five or less and found that there were loads of things we could get that would be really handy – and also some pretty crap stuff that we got just for fun. .
âWe will never need to buy toiletries, inexpensive novels, highlighters, shirts or batteries again throughout our college careers and beyond.
âIt became an addicting game that we called ‘What can you buy for under five cents’ and we were pretty inventive.
âWe found six-bottle packs of beer for Â£ 6.99 which meant we were getting them for Â£ 2 a pack which was a highlight.
âWe were up until 3am ordering and ordering because we thought that at some point, any minute, Amazon would take care of what was going on and pull out the plug – but they wouldn’t. have not.
âThe next day, the porter at our residences looked completely shocked when the packages started to arrive en masse and never stopped arriving all day.
âWhen we got to the conferences on Wednesday morning, we found the offer was still working, so we kept ordering stuff on our phones all day.
âIt was around this time that we discovered that other universities across the country had understood this as well. At first, people were a little shy about it and just texted “Welcome5?” “
âAnd then it started blowing up on social media, with people saying they bought 15 college books for nothing and some even personally thanked Jeff Bezos for messing up so badly.
âIt must have cost Amazon hundreds of thousands of pounds and it wasn’t discovered until Thursday night, but by then everyone had gone mad.
“WE WERE INVENTIVE”
âI started sending stuff home to my mom because we ran out of room for the apartment. Obviously that meant a lot of packaging lying around, but to be fair our apartment wasn’t that tidy anyway.
âWhen the code fell on Thursday night, we were emptied. My buddy came to my room and said ‘Welcome5 is finished!
“I’m pretty sure Jeff Bezos can afford it, it’s worth $ 110 billion so it won’t affect results too much and Amazon can be sure they will always have a special place in our hearts.”
Another student, Ryan from Nottingham Trent University, said: âI mainly used the code to bulk buy food, stationery, art supplies, charging cables and cleaning supplies.
âI saved Â£ 164 on 36 items. The students bought whatever they could find. The most common things were crisps, protein bars, and chocolates.
“One of my roommates used the shed to buy sex toys for his girlfriend. I hope they bring them back next year.”
The problem is believed to have been running since October 15 until Amazon realized what was happening on Thursday when it stopped working.
The students took to Twitter to express their disappointment. One of them said: “RIP to Welcome5, you will be missed forever.” Amazon has been contacted for comment.